Category Archives: Environment

States Perform

Source: Council of State Governments, 2017

States Perform provides users with access to interactive, customizable and up-to-date comparative performance measurement data for 50 states in six key areas: fiscal and economic, public safety and justice, energy and environment, transportation, health and human services, and education. Compare performance across a few or all states, profile one state, view trends over time, and customize your results with graphs and maps.

Gray and Green Together: Climate Change in an Aging World

Source: Robert B. Hudson, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017

…Beyond documenting the mounting toll that climate change is taking on elders and others, there is obviously need to design and carry out interventions to mitigate the damage that such change will inevitably bring. Importantly, it is here where elders can be cast as players as well as victims. Older adults represent an enormous latent resource that can be mobilized to address the global warming challenge. Elders have knowledge, resources, and an intergenerational as well as personal stake to bring to this effort, one which clearly has “manifest destiny” written all over it.

How to get more elders involved in addressing climate change and what form that involvement might take are core elements of this issue of Public Policy & Aging Report. The articles here address a number of questions, including how concerned about climate change—absolutely and relative to younger age groups—are today’s elders; how to understand what role older adults play around global warming—change agents or contributors; and how can older people mobilize to meet the climate change challenge on behalf of themselves, their descendants, and the population at large….

Articles include:

Greening Gray: Climate Action for an Aging World
Source: Michael A. Smyer, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

Growing Old in a Changing Climate
Source: Gary Haq, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

How to Effectively Debunk Myths About Aging and Other Misconceptions
Source: John Cook, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

Mobilizing Older People to Address Climate Change
Source: Karl Pillemer, David Filiberto, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)
Elders and Climate Change: No Excuses
Source: Rick Moody, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

The Scream of Nature
Source: Kathy E. Sykes, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

Never Too Old to Care: Reaching an Untapped Cohort of Climate Action Champions
Source: Susanne C. Moser, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

Coconstructing Environmental Stewardship: A Detroit-Driven Participatory Approach
Source: Peter A. Lichtenberg, Carrie Leach, Nicholas Schroeck, Brian Smith, James Blessman, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

The Role of Constituency, Party, and Industry in Pennsylvania’s Act 13

Source: Bradford H. Bishop, Mark R. Dudley, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, OnlineFirst, First Published December 1, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
While a large body of research exists regarding the role of industry money on roll-call voting in the U.S. Congress, there is surprisingly little scholarship pertaining to industry influence on state politics. This study fills this void in an analysis of campaign donations and voting during passage of Act 13 in Pennsylvania during 2011 and 2012. After collecting information about natural gas production in state legislative districts, we estimate a series of multivariate models aimed at uncovering whether campaign donations contributed to a more favorable policy outcome for industry. Our findings indicate that campaign donations played a small but systematic role in consideration of the controversial legislation, which represented one of the first and most important state-level regulatory reforms for the hydraulic fracturing industry.

Strategic Silence: Withholding Certification Status as a Hypocrisy Avoidance Tactic

Source: W. Chad Carlos, Ben W. Lewis, Administrative Science Quarterly, OnlineFirst, First Published February 1, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We examine why organizations that obtain prominent certifications may at times elect not to publicize them. Drawing on the impression management literature, we argue and show that concerns about being perceived as hypocritical may cause organizations to strategically withhold their certification status. Using a longitudinal panel of corporations that were members of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, a prominent environmental certification, we show that in the face of reputational threats, organizations are less likely to publicize their certification status when the threat appears to directly contradict the claims implied by the certification. Our findings suggest that the threat of hypocrisy is amplified for firms with stronger reputations in the same domain as the certification and when audience members better understand and value the certification. Our findings delineate new boundary conditions under which firms will make prosocial claims and inspire reconsideration of long-held assumptions about the process of decoupling the implementation and communication of socially valued practices. This study also provides insights for scholars of nonmarket strategy on how corporations strategically communicate with external constituents about their sustainability initiatives.

Fight Trump. Work From Home.

Source: Tasneem Rajamar, Mother Jones, April 2017

Remote jobs are great for work-life balance—and democracy. ….. By 2020, Dell hopes that half its workforce will be doing at least some remote work. A report released by the company in June 2016 found that thanks to telecommuting, 35,000 US employees each saved the equivalent of one metric ton of carbon dioxide on average every year—even when you consider the extra energy required for heat and lights in a home office….. What’s more, a group of researchers found that for low-income people, the longer their commute is, the less likely they are to vote. And another study shows that no other daily activity brings out as many negative emotions as the morning commute—not dealing with the kids, cleaning the dishes, or even being at work. When you’re already stressed out and annoyed, finding the energy to engage politically is just that much harder…..
Related:
The Sustainability Benefits of the Connected Workplace
Source: John Pflueger, Sarah Gibson, Christian Normand, Dell, June 2016

The “Daily Grind” – Work, Commuting, and Their Impact on Political Participation
Source: Benjamin J. Newman, Joshua Johnson, Patrick L. Lown, American Politics Research, Vol 42, Issue 1, 2014
(subscription required)

Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being
Source: Daniel Kahneman and Alan B. Krueger, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 20, Number 1, Winter 2006

LGR: Local Government Review

Source: Public Management (PM), Special Section, December 2016
(subscription required)

In the tradition of The Municipal Year Book, LGR: Local Government Review—a special section of Public Management (PM)—will present key research findings and expert insights about local government issues and trends. This is the first in what we anticipate being a series of LGR special sections.

Sustainability and Local Governments: Planning Helps Balance Environmental, Economic, and Social Equity Priorities
BY GEORGE C. HOMSY, MILDRED E. WARNER, AND LU LIAO
ICMA’s sustainability survey indicates that many local governments now recognize the important role that environmental protection plays in establishing a foundation for both short- and long-term economic development. Funding and economic development drive sustainability, and lack of funding is the number one barrier to sustainability. The survey also shows that attention to sustainability’s third dimension, social equity, lags behind. Higher inclusion of social equity concerns in disaster planning may provide a template for integrating social equity issues more effectively into sustainability plans. The survey also found that local governments seem to learn best from each other.

Tackling the Housing Affordability Crisis: The Critical Role of Local Government Leadership
BY JELANI NEWTON
As income growth lags behind growth in housing costs, housing affordability is a growing concern in post-recession America. Local governments play a critical role in assessing the specific housing needs of the communities they serve, then developing and implementing customized strategies to effectively meet those needs. Three case studies highlight the unique challenges and targeted strategies of three cities—Miami, Florida; Rocky Mount, North Carolina; and San Antonio, Texas.

Supreme Court Review for Local Governments: Quick roundup of last term’s cases affecting cities and counties
BY LISA SORONEN

Why Local Governments Are Talking about Millennials: Shifting demographics make succession planning a high priority
BY ELIZABETH KELLAR
Demographic shifts explain why organizations are paying so much attention to Millennials. In just four years, people born in 1978 or later will make up 56 percent of the workforce. The percentage of baby boomers—27 percent of the workforce in 2016—will decline to 17 percent in 2020, and Gen X will hold steady at 27 percent of the workforce. How does today’s local government workforce stack up with these broader demographic shifts?

Most States Are Combating Climate Change and Growing Their Economies

Source: Mike Maciag, Governing, December 8, 2016

But a new report, released right after Trump nominated a climate skeptic to lead the EPA, shows that some states still have rising emissions.
Related:
Growth, carbon, and Trump: State progress and drift on economic growth and emissions ‘decoupling’
Source: Devashree Saha and Mark Muro, Brookings Institution, December 8, 2016

…..With the stunning election of Donald Trump to the presidency, every aspect of the low-carbon paradigm for national and world progress has been thrown into doubt, starting with the federal government’s support of the quest to “decarbonize” the economy by decoupling economic growth from emissions growth.

All of which raises the question of how resilient the decarbonization paradigm is at the state and local level. Given their substantial powers to encourage emissions decoupling, states and cities are crucial players in the carbon drama. Therefore, it is worth assessing whether states’ and localities’ momentum on decoupling is strong enough to maintain recent progress.

And so this brief takes a look at state-level decoupling trends by matching data on real GDP growth between 2000 and 2014 for all 50 states and the District of Columbia with data on energy-related carbon dioxide emissions for the same years and locations. In doing so, the brief provides an initial baseline look at the pace and geography of state-side decoupling and decarbonization—with an eye to assessing state-level momentum on the brink of federal pull-back…..

Boomtown, Flood Town

Source: Neena Satija for The Texas Tribune and Reveal; Kiah Collier for The Texas Tribune; and Al Shaw for ProPublica, December 7, 2016

Climate change will bring more frequent and fierce rainstorms to cities like Houston. But unchecked development remains a priority in the famously un-zoned city, creating short-term economic gains for some while increasing flood risks for everyone. ….

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues

Source: Mary Tiemann, Congressional Research Service (CRS), CRS Report, RS22037, November 8, 2016

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the federal authority for regulating contaminants in public water supplies. It includes the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) program, established in 1996 to help public water systems finance infrastructure projects needed to comply with federal drinking water regulations and to meet the SDWA’s health objectives. Under this program, states receive annual capitalization grants to provide financial assistance (primarily subsidized loans) to public water systems for drinking water projects and other specified activities. Between FY1997 and FY2015, Congress had appropriated approximately $20 billion, and more than 12,400 projects had received assistance through the program.

The latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) survey of capital improvement needs indicates that public water systems need to invest $384.2 billion on infrastructure improvements over 20 years to ensure the provision of safe tap water. EPA reports that, although all of the identified projects promote the public health objectives of the SDWA, just $42.0 billion (10.9%) of reported needs are attributable to SDWA compliance. A study by the American Water Works Association projects that restoring aging infrastructure and expanding water systems to keep up with population growth would require a nationwide investment of at least $1 trillion through 2035……